Archives and Rare Books

‘Stereoscopic Studies of Anatomy’ on display in FLTC

The official project for which I was recently hired as the “project archivist” is to consolidate (and often create)  metadata for our visual collections and make finding aids for them in our database. So I started with VC001 (i.e. “visual collection No. 1”) and have been going from there! Essentially, a lot of what I’ve  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Who’s Who in 17th-Century Europe

Walk into any modern library, and you’ll come across the reference section. This section contains works that provide researchers with fast facts and general information. For example, here in the medical library, some of the reference works in Archives and Rare Books include: “Polk’s Medical Register and Directory of North America,” “Encyclopedia Britannica” and the  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

The ‘New’ Medical Center

In the early 20th century, a “new” medical center was created for Washington University largely due to the efforts of two men: Abraham Flexner and Robert Brookings. With funding from the Carnegie Foundation, Flexner traveled to 155 medical schools throughout the United States and Canada between 1908 and 1910. His goal was to assess each institution  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Bernie’s ‘other’ library

Washington University’s medical library is named after Bernard Becker, MD (1920-2013), who served as head of the university’s Department of Ophthalmology from 1953 to 1988.  During his remarkable 35-year tenure as department chair, Becker established one of the most outstanding academic ophthalmology departments and residency programs in the country and became a world-renowned expert on  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Historic Pharmaceuticals: Lessons for an archivist

Becker Library’s archives contain so much more than paper documents. Many of our collections comprise an amazing array of unique artifacts, including photographs and albums, clothing, plaques and medals, blueprints, historic currency, and maps. We also care for collections including materials that are incredible resources for the preservation of the history of medicine and its  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Paratext: A unique perspective on the past

When we set out to do historical research, we’re often very focused on the text – we want the book, the chapter, the journal article. But sometimes it’s just as important to pay attention to the paratext. Paratext is a word used to describe additional material supplied by authors, editors, printers, and publishers – for  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

The St. Louis Body-Snatchers

It reads like the beginning of a horror story. “At 8 o’clock Monday evening three very rough-looking men entered a saloon known as the ‘Gravois Cave’ on a corner opposite of the cemetery…The men remained only a few minutes and when they went out they separated going in different directions and leaving a light spring-wagon,  [Read more]

Announcements, Archives and Rare Books

‘Making a Monster’ exhibit explores developments in science and anatomy that shaped ‘Frankenstein’

Mary Shelley’s seminal novel “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus” was published 200 years ago in 1818. Since then it has never gone out of print, and it has been reinterpreted in film, theatre, and even ballet. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to the timelessness of its themes. “Frankenstein” is not just a simple story  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Part Medical Text, Part Work of Art

The Becker Library Rare Book Collections include approximately 23,000 volumes chronicling the history of medicine. The books and journals are organized within nine distinct collections that primarily document western medical history, and are typically written in Latin, German, French and English. There are, however, many medical texts among the rare book collections that are not  [Read more]

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